In general, an individual may not use a B1 visitor for business visa to engage in a clerkship in the United States. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. One exception is for engaging in a medical clerkship within certain parameters, and the second exception is for observing business or other professional or vocational activities within certain parameters. In this article, we will examine both of these exceptions for engaging in clerkships on B1 status.
Both the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and federal regulations are univocal in prohibiting businesses operating in the United States from employing foreign nationals who lack an employment authorization (limited or open market) to work in the United States. The prohibition is based on the public policy of protecting the local workforce. However, businesses may associate with foreign nationals on B1 visas to conduct certain types of limited business activities in the United States, provided that they do not rise to employment for B1 business visitors.
Under section 248 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and regulations in 8 C.F.R. 248.1, it is permissible under certain circumstances to change from B1 or B2 nonimmigrant visitor status to F1 or M1 student status. However, the nonimmigrant visitor who is seeking change of status must be maintaining his or her visitor status and be otherwise eligible for change of status and must satisfy the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that he or she did not obtain a B1 or B2 visitor visa in order to circumvent the normal application process for an F1 or M1 student visa. In this article, we will examine the rules and procedures for seeking a change of status from B1 or B2 visitor to F1 or M1 student. Please note that an alien who enters under the Visa Waiver Program or as a nonimmigrant visitor otherwise without a visa will not be eligible to change status.